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You just got a new scope, but it’s been so long since you last had to zero a scope from scratch that you can’t quite remember how to do it. Instead of heading to the range and wasting all of your 5.56 ammo trying to dial the scope in, follow these tips to get it right quickly.

Check the Adjustment Values

Your first step is to check the adjustment values for the elevation and windage adjustment knobs. Each click will move the reticle a specific amount in that direction, but the amount could be anywhere from one-quarter Minute of Angle (MOA) to a full MOA. You might also have a .1 MIL, or milliradian, adjustment. MOA is 1 inch of adjustment at 100 yards, while 1 MIL is 3.6 inches. If the values aren’t printed on the turrets, refer to the user’s manual.

Hit the Paper

Your next step is to hit the paper. From how your optic is mounted to the optic itself, plenty of factors can determine if your 30-30 Winchester is accurate or not. Shooting and adjusting is the only way to zero your scope accurately. You might want to start at 25 yards, helping you get a rough zero just to ensure you can hit the target at 100 yards. The closer you are to the target, the more clicks on your turrets you will need to move your reticle. For example, if your turret is one-quarter MOA, you need four clicks at 100 yards to move the reticle an inch.

Get a Group at 100 Yards

After you are on paper at 25 yards, it’s time to head out to 100. Use a rifle rest if you can or anything else that will help stabilize your shot. This takes out human error as a factor as much as possible. Shoot between three and five rounds. It’s best to use a target that has 1-inch square grids, which makes it easy to see exactly how far off the mark is from your point of aim. Once you have a tight group, you can move on to the next step.

Make Adjustments

Measure how far the center of your grouping was from the point of aim. This should be easy, thanks to the 1-inch squares. With this information, you can adjust your turrets, both windage and elevation, as needed. If you were off by 3 inches to the left, for example, you need to move the windage turret 12 clicks to the right to move the reticle 3 inches at 100 yards. Keep repeating this step until your point of aim matches the point of impact.

Reset the Turrets

You have now zeroed your scope. You can move your turrets so that the “0” on the knob is lined up with the center indicator on the scope body, showing it is now the zero. If you ever need to adjust windage or height due to shooting conditions, you know to move the turrets back to the zero. Completely loosen the hex screws on the outside of the turret, turn the turret, and re-tighten the screws. You shouldn’t hear any clicks, and the turret should spin freely.

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